BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, looked back on four decades of growth in technology, as it hosted a visit from its royal patron, HRH The Duke of Kent.

His Royal Highness has been Patron of BCS since 1979 and is a former president of the organisation.

The Duke toured BCS’s new offices in Swindon, came face-to-face with a robot and met Dame Stephanie Shirley CH – a past BCS President and recipient of the BCS Distinguished Fellowship Award. Dame Stephanie was also awarded the IET’s Mountbatten Medal, presented by The Duke in 1999.

The Duke has been a long-standing advocate for computing and digital innovation - and his visit marked the 40th anniversary of his tenure as a former President of BCS.

During his visit he met BCS apprentices and was introduced to a telepresence robot.

Women still under-represented

Dame Stephanie Shirley CH, global IT entrepreneur and philanthropist, and BCS Distinguished Fellow, said: “It has been an honour to welcome The Duke of Kent today to BCS. As patron of BCS for the past forty years, and in his former role as a BCS President, The Duke has shown a clear commitment to our sector.

Dame Stephanie Shirley CH, HRH The Duke of Kent and Mayank Prakash FBCS, President of BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT

“Having spent the best part of seven decades in our industry, I have seen a great deal of positive change. Women are now playing a vital role in all aspects of tech and are making their way in this sector. However, women are still under-represented, and more needs to be done to attract and retain them in this fast-growing sector. We’re grateful that The Duke continues to support BCS and our work to create a diverse and exciting IT profession.”

For you

Be part of something bigger, join the Chartered Institute for IT.

Rashik Parmar MBE, Chief Executive of BCS, said: “HRH The Duke of Kent has been a long-standing friend and supporter of the power of information technology , watching it transform from a niche interest to something woven into every part of our lives. We were delighted to welcome him to our offices, and to restate our message that an ethical, accountable and inclusive IT profession benefits everyone.”

Established in 1957, BCS was granted a royal charter by the Privy Council in 1984 which defines its role in maintaining standards of competence, conduct and ethical practice within the IT profession.

Today, that means BCS shines a light on big issues such as the persistent gender gap in computing education, the value of professional standards in cyber security, and how tech has a vital role to play in sustainability and the journey to net zero emissions.

BCS moved into the newly refurbished offices in Swindon in 2020.

HRH The Duke of Kent

HRH The Duke of Kent has been royal patron of BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT, since 1976. BCS was granted a royal charter by the Privy Council in 1984.

The royal charter defines our purpose of setting and maintaining standards of competence, conduct and ethical practice within the IT profession. The charter means BCS is responsible for ensuring technology shapes a safe and positive future for everyone. Our commitment is not just to the people working in the industry but to society as a whole.

Dame Stephanie Shirley CH

Dame Stephanie was awarded Distinguished Fellowship by BCS in 2021.

Dame Stephanie arrived in Britain as an unaccompanied child refugee in 1939. In 1962, she founded an all-woman software company that pioneered remote working, upending the expectations of the time. It was ultimately valued at almost $3 billion and made 70 of her staff millionaires.

Since ‘retiring’, her focus has been on philanthropy, and she has given away almost £70m to fund strategic projects in autism and IT. She joined BCS as a student member on its foundation in 1957 and was its first woman President in 1989-90.

Photos: HRH The Duke of Kent with Mayank Prakash FBCS, President of BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT and robot with Rashik Parmar MBE, Group CEO of BCS on screen and Dame Stephanie Shirley CH, HRH The Duke of Kent and Mayank Prakash FBCS, President of BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT